Seventeen start ups, including mobile entrepreneurs, chosen for tech accelerator

Alex Walls
April 4, 2013

Telefonica’s technology accelerator Wayra has chosen 17 start ups for its academy, including eight which are apps or use mobiles for business.

The start-up accelerator, which had a focus on growing the best ideas and talent in the ICT field,  looked at 3,444 applications across 32 countries, with 30 finalists looking to win a place at Wayra’s London academy, it said.

Seventeen were chosen to take part in the academy as part of the second annual selection process since the academy’s opening in April 2012.  Of these, three of the start-ups involved apps, Wayra said.  A further five  used mobiles as part of their business, where either the business, user or end user engaged or was engaged via a mobile phone.

The start-ups would be incorporated in the UK when they entered the academy, Wayra said.

These start-ups included Peekster, a mobile app which bridged the gap between print media and online, Dattch, a dating app build for lesbian bi and curious women, and iHELP, an app that aimed to increase safety and provide effective help in an emergency, a Wayra spokesperson said.

The start ups would receive up to ‚¬40,000 in funding ( £33,930)  with the possibility of conversion in minority shareholding in their business, typically between five and ten percent, Wayra said, as well as access to customised work space in the central London academy and mentoring from advisors and investors for six to nine months.

Dattch founder Robyn Exton said a place in the accelerator offered community and support infrastructure not common for start-ups, as well as a significant network good for taking business to international markets.

“We get used to working in small isolated teams and being in Wayra means sharing a space and experiences with 16 other startups and a number of mentors. As Wayra is part of Telefonica they also have a significant network that can be really beneficial for taking a startup to international markets.”

As the start-up entered Wayra, it would be refining its new build, set to go live soon, hiring a full time Apple iOS developer and launching the app to the rest of the UK, Exton said.

“Winning Wayra feels like the first official step out of bootstrapping which we definitely feel ready for!”

App development, and getting noticed in today’s market, could be tough, she said.  The development cycle had been one of the bigger learning experiences.

“We now do a lot of work in customer development to get that early insight as you can’t test and refine as quickly in iOS as you can in web development. We are a community app so we are very much talking and working within our community to get it off the ground.”

Exton’s tips for success include:

1 – Customer development has been one of the most helpful pieces in our development cycles.

2- Start small and build out

3 – Test everything. And test it again. If your app gets approved with a bug in it – you’ve got to wait another week before it gets fixed so make sure you are thoroughly tested.

The mobile winners included:

·        Peekster

·                 Dattch

·                 iHELP

·                 Narrato

·                 GoCarShare

·                 Eventstagram

·                 Ensygnia

·                 Munch

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